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Legal and legislative developments on two different sides of the globe brought illegal immigration status into focus in recent weeks. In New Zealand, a section of the Immigration Act 2009 came into force at the end of November 2010, by which stiff new penalties can be applied to any education provider at the “post-compulsory” level who enrols a student “not entitled to study”. The new regulation raises the maximum penalty that may be applied for knowingly enrolling a student in such status from NZD 2 000 (EUR 1 115) to NZD 50 000 (EUR 27 885). The penalty for the “general enrolment offence” now stands at NZD 30 000 (EUR 16 731). An official source notes that “the penalties were increased due to concerns from the export education sector about a small number of ‘bad apples’ bringing their sector into disrepute” and in light of the fact that the previous penalty of NZD 2 000 did not adequately cover the costs of enforcing the law.
In the United States, the long-debated DREAM Act (known officially as the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2009, See ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, June 2010) was essentially put to rest without becoming law as of 18 December 2010. This proposed legislation calls for relief from deportation and other immigration penalties for young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children, but have since resided in the country for at least 5 years and have completed high school or been admitted to a US institution of higher education. Although the bill was approved by the House of Representatives on 8 December, ten days later it failed to win the necessary 60 votes in the Senate to bring debate to an end and force a vote on the measure. With the new Republican-dominated congress taking office in January 2011, it is unlikely that the DREAM Act can be resurrected during the remaining two years of the Obama presidency.Immigration New Zealand US Library of Congress